When I left for Florida at the beginning of the month, I intended to travel around the state visiting and photographing wildlife, landscapes and seascapes, and to regularly post articles to my blog after photographing each park, preserve or refuge. Well, I visited many parks, preserves and refuges in the last few weeks, but have only posted one article to my blog. I have fallen way behind because of the time also spent visiting family and friends over the holidays, speaking of which, happy New Year!
I also had intended to post articles in the order of my visits to the parks, preserves and refuges, but with this article I am skipping ahead to Big Talbot Island State Park, which I visited a couple weeks ago with my daughter, JulieAnne, and her boyfriend, Ivor. JulieAnne works for the Florida Park Service and had business at Big Talbot on the day of my visit so Ivor and I went along. She knew I would find Big Talbot to be a very interesting and beautiful park, and she was correct.
Big Talbot is an undeveloped barrier island located north of Jacksonville with gorgeous unspoiled ocean beaches, salt marshes, wetlands, and very unusual and unique seascapes for the State of Florida.
After arriving on the island, our first stop was to walk a short trail through pristine sand dunes (opening image) to one of the beaches (above). About fifty yards out from the beach, there were several dolphins that appeared to be enjoying the surf, but were most likely chasing fish.
After enjoying the beautiful, natural (undeveloped–no houses, hotels, etc.) beach, we headed inland passing Savannah Sparrows feeding on sea oats in the sand dunes.
After leaving the beach, we went to Blackrock Trail that led to Blackrock Beach, a very unusual beach. I have been to many, many beaches in Florida, but have never seen anything like this beach. It was covered in lava like hardpan sedimentary deposits that give it its “Blackrock” name. These rocky formations are habitat for mollusks, crabs, oysters, and other tide pool creatures. The following are a few of the photographs I took on Blackrock Beach.
Blackrock Beach is also known as the “Boneyard” because of all of the dead trees, that through erosion, litter the beach. The trees have been there for many years and have a driftwood look having been bleached by the sun and washed by the ocean at high tide. We were there at low tide and were able to walk among them.
At the end of the beach was an inlet and salt marsh where we stopped to enjoy and photograph the view. The colors of the reeds and cord grass against the blues of the water and sky were gorgeous. A few images from that location follow.
Within the reeds, Ivor spotted a Saltmarsh Sparrow and was able to lure it out to the edge of the reeds to see us, while I photographed it (below image).
Over the next week or two, I plan to post many more articles and images of the parks, preserves and refuges that I visited. They include: St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, Peacock Springs State Park, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, and Everglades National Park to name a few.